GDPR Compliance and the Steps You Need to Take to Avoid Fines
GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulation, recently went into effect. Though the intent of GDPR is to protect the privacy of people who live in the European Union, the sweeping new regulation applies to any organization from around the world that collects and processes data belonging to European Union citizens. Although we’ve been talking about preparing for GDPR for over a year, the waiting period has come and gone and many companies still have confusion around how the regulations will impact them.
Since non-compliance can result in millions of dollars in fines, you have every reason to be concerned about the implications it can have on your organization. Penalties can range from a percentage of annual revenue to millions of dollars depending on the nature of the fine. Moreover, your clients have most likely started asking questions. They want to know if your organization is compliant – and you need to be able to answer them.
How Do I Know if I’m GDPR Compliant?
Simply put, GDPR impacts nearly every organization, no matter where you’re located.
Take, for instance, major companies like Facebook and Google. Both were recently in hot water over GDPR non-compliance, and they could be facing billions in fines. Facebook pulls data from nearly half of the websites around the world, but GDPR forbids this without express consent. If these huge companies can be so heavily impacted, smaller organizations need to take heed: compliance is mandatory, and non-compliance has great financial risks.
Many IT companies are advertising GDPR-compliant solutions, but the truth is that this isn’t enough. GDPR isn’t a plug and play type of regulation; a strategy for compliance must be in place.
Steps to Take to Ensure GDPR Compliance
Here are the steps that your organization can take to ensure GDPR compliance and avoid hefty fines.
- Consider how GDPR impacts your company
Marketing companies and departments will feel the most impact, as the GDPR sets a new standard on data collection. When collecting data from someone, that person must give their consent. Citizens now have new rights that many organizations don’t fully understand and have never had to deal with in the past. If you’re not gathering the necessary approvals, your company is out of compliance.
- Determine whether you’re a controller or processor
If compliance is necessary, your responsibilities will differ depending on whether you’re a controller or a processor. There will be changes in contracts and agreements between controllers and processors aligning with GDPR. A thorough understanding of the data an organization has and what they’re doing with that data is needed. This can take a lot of work so if you haven’t begun this process, you should begin to do so immediately.
- Data security must be addressed
Even for those organizations who are still unsure whether GDPR applies to them, sensitive data should be ethically protected. Consider the risks to your organization’s reputation if a breach were to occur. Or consider the harm to your employees if their personal information was compromised. New GDPR regulations are a good opportunity for every organization to re-evaluate their security posture and modernize their strategy in the face of an increasing threat-filled, digital landscape.
GDPR is Here. Are You Ready?
The deadline for GDPR compliance has already passed. If you aren’t sure whether or not you’re compliant – or if you even need to be – our team can help you find out. If you’re out of compliance, we can help correct that problem before it’s too late.